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How much does Cat6 cable cost?

How much does data cabling cost, what is the difference in cost between Cat5e and Cat6 cabling? Also, what about Cat6 vs Cat6a. These are questions we get asked regularly as cabling subcontractors

Price per data point

Many of our customers want to know how much a data cabling project is per point. Therefore, the explanation below is a good way to know for budgetary purposes. Also, you can scale the numbers up and down and you have your installation costs.

However, as the information below will show price per data point fluctuates due to many factors

A good estimate for Cat6 cabling price per data point is £40.00 – £55.00 per point.  However, the price can fluctuate contingent on many aspects. For example with regard to the building, timings, and number of cables within the project

Every job is unique in some way and therefore every project has a multitude of aspects that can affect the overall quotation

The most important aspect of quotations however is to always make sure the quotation is all-inclusive. Furthermore, it includes everything you need. Likewise, it should also allow for your particular scheduling requirements. Making sure that the particulars are consistent with all parties will allow you to compare like for like quotations

The following aspects are areas that can affect the overall quotation for Cat6 data cabling

  1. The total number of Cat6 outlets you wish to have installed
  2. Cat6 CCA or above euro class fire rated cable requirement
  3. How far those data cabling cables are from the main cabinet to the desk or outlets
  4. The makeup of the building and its effect on how easy or difficult it is to install those cables
  5. How the cables are spread throughout the building and how dense they are grouped
  6. The type of building, warehouse, residential, school, commercial, modern, etc
  7. Whether new containment is required or if all required containment is already in place
  8. Depending on if the building has a false ceiling, false floors or both
  9. Whether there is a requirement to run Cat6 outside
  10. Whether the projects are required to be undertaken in hours or out of hours, evenings or weekends
  11. Where the project is located
  12. Unique access issues, security clearances. Limited working practices
  13. Parking, Congestion Charge, and other factors

Cat6 Cabling Costs – Network installation cost estimate

As an overall average, the cost of Cat6 cabling including the cable, patch panels, and cat6 modules will range from £40.00 per point up to £55.00 per point. This is slightly higher than a cat5 installation, for example

This would be based on a cat6 structured cabling project with a minimum of 20-24 data cabling outlets

There will be projects where the price per data outlet will be less than this range or in some way more than this estimate

The areas explored above are the majority of the factors that contribute to moving the overall quotation. Indeed, this can be the lower or higher end of the quotation or in some instances outside of that range

What Factors move the Cat6 data cabling cost to the lower estimate?

When comparing the price per point for Cat6 cabling, the following instances will move the quotation to be at its most competitive and most economical

The overall number of Cat6 structured cabling outlets

By economies of scale, the more cables installed in a single project with result in an overall lower price per data point. Consequently, there are economies of scale when installing more cabling outlets within a building. Labour costs remain quite static when pulling in 1, 5, 10, or 20 outlets to the same area.

You will find 100 cat5e cables in an office that will cost less per point than installing 50.

How difficult the installation routes are

Modern buildings are more suitable for the installation of data cabling and because the installations are more achievable it will result in a lower overall quotation. The presence of false ceilings and false floors will assist in the installation of the data cabling and will be easier than those with solid ceilings and floors. Open routes result in lower installation costs

How many Cat6 cabling outlets go to certain areas and in what density

When you have a larger density of data cabling outlets to fewer areas it results in a lower overall average price. If larger numbers of Cat6 cables are going to a few areas you will see a lower quotation than if a low number of cables are going to many individual areas

A hotel is a prime example of a project where the density of the cabling makes a big difference. In the majority of these projects, you have 6-8 data cabling outlets per bedroom. Indeed, each of these cabling outlets is in a different part of the room. This results in a much higher price per point installation compared to a large number of outlets in a single office space

What factors increase Cat6 cabling price per data point to the higher end of the estimate?

Lack of Containment or data cabling routes

False ceilings and false floors were a contributor to easier installation and better overall costs. The reverse is found if the building consists of only solid ceilings, floors, and walls. Therefore, lacking existing containment to run the cables. In these instances, the cost of containment needs to be added to the overall cabling installation cost. Depending on the containment required and how much is required this can increase the overall installation by 50-100%

Project location and project access

Central London projects have certain fixed price considerations. For example, congestion charge and increased parking costs which can at times result in almost £100 a day in fixed costs. Consequently, the central London projects will have a higher average cost. The fixed cost will make a larger difference to the price per data point on low number data outlet projects than larger outlet projects of course

The expectations on working hours and access times

If a project has the requirement of being completed out of hours or in bespoke time scales, it can result in an increased price. Working out of hours can sometimes increase the speed of completion of the project due to easier access. However, in a like for like situation, out of working hours will increase the overall cost

Unsuitable existing containment

Cat6 cabling is slightly larger than Cat5e cabling. Likewise, it also has a greater bend radius. Thus, less cabling being able to fit inside dado trunking or within sub-floor trunking. In instances where existing trunking is in place but not suitable you will have the cost to replace or increase the containment required

What factors increase cabling cost out of the range?

  1. Unique and complicated buildings - Buildings that require complicated installation, difficult routes, or bespoke access equipment result in a quotation that exceeds the range above. Buildings such as the following
  2. Warehouses – High level and scaled buildings with above-average height ceilings which require powered access increase the time to install the cabling and the additional cost of the equipment
  3. Care Homes – These buildings are usually a solid construction with no visible routes so require a lot of containment or builders work to create the routes
  4. Hotels – A hotel can have a large number of overall cables, but they are split into single outlets spread through the bedrooms and hotel. They are usually solid ceilings also for design and their routes are difficult to negotiate
  5. Projects with a very low density and individual cables to many areas

Projects that involve the majority of outlets consisting of a single Cat6 cable to a large number of single locations will increase the pricing out of the average range. These projects may involve Wi-Fi access points, CCTV Cameras, or Door Access Control, all of which are dispersed outlets all in single installation runs

  • A low number of required cables

If the requirements for Cat5e cabling are only a few outlets then the economies of scale don’t contribute to bringing down the overall price per point down. With labour being a fixed cost for a certain number of outlets, a low number of outlets have a larger average labour cost.

Cat6 Speed vs Cat5e

What is the difference between Cat5 and Cat6? In comparison to Cat5e, Cat6 has more than double the bandwidth. The comparison of the bandwidth of Cat6 speed vs Cat5e is 250Mhz to 100Mhz

At the industry standard of 90m, Cat6 and Cat5e are similar in that both transmit 1gigabit at 90m

However, Cat6 can transmit 10 gigabits up to 55m. Cat5e is however deemed as not suitable

Cat6 vs Cat6a Comparisons

Cat6 vs Cat6a Speed

In comparison to Cat6, Cat6a has double the bandwidth. The comparison of the bandwidth of Cat6 vs Cat6a is 500Mhz to 250Mhz

In addition, in comparing Cat6 vs Cat6a for transmission of 10-gigabit speeds Cat6a is far superior. Cat6a can transit 10Gig up to 90m. By comparison, Cat6 can only transmit the same speed up to 55m. Both links can also have 5m patch leads each end

Cat6 vs Cat6a Difference

The termination hardware for both cable types is also different. In Cat6 installations usually, the user outlets are terminated onto 25 x50mm modules. The cabinet end is terminated directly onto 24-way patch panels.

With Cat6a cables both ends are terminated onto keystone jacks. They snap into a shutter and patch panel at either end. Therefore, the depth of containment whether in dado trunking, surface box, or floor box is increased for Cat6a

Other considerations

As detailed above, many factors contribute to your overall Cat6 cabling cost. Consideration should be taken on the initial installation to allow for the requirements of the current technology and any future requirements. Allowing for 100 data points instead of now to cable a whole floor instead of partially cabling 50 will increase the overall cost by a significant amount less than double

However, if you install a further 50 Cat5e outlets after an initial 50 cabling outlets, the cost for the second project will not be the same as the previous but more than likely more. This is because the now finished cabinets, floors, desks, and staff will have to be disrupted and the installation time will be increased. It may also now require out of hours installation and additional elevation in price

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